[Anime] Review – In Another World with my Smartphone: A Blatant Self Insert Fantasy

Smartphone-Title

In Another World with my Smartphone, originally titled Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni, is technically about a teen who is transported to another world, one filled with magic and mystical creatures. Any reasonable description of the show would have you believe that it’s about how Touya – the main character – adapts to this new world while having unique adventures made possible by his smartphone.

A few episodes in, you quickly realize that’s not the case at all. The show is actually a very blatant self insert fantasy with an overpowered main character and no overarching plot, and half the time, you forget he even has a smartphone. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start with some context.

The Premise

The very first episode begins with Touya talking to God, presumably somewhere in the afterlife. God accidentally threw some lightning and killed Touya, so to make up for it, he decides to send Touya to another world (as he cannot be reborn in the same world). Touya asks to keep his smartphone, and God basically says, “Okay, and I’ll make it so that you can call me with that smartphone”. In addition, the smartphone’s GPS, camera, and other functions will work in the new world.

Smartphone-God

Meet God

Cool, you might think. That’s a neat perk and one that might make for an interesting adventure. If that were all that Touya got, I think the story might have been 10x more interesting. Except, the perks don’t stop there.

Give Me All the Powers

Because Touya is just such a nice, polite guy, God decides to give him a ton of additional abilities, most of which are gradually revealed in the first episode:

  • General Attribute Boost: If you think of attributes like strength, speed, intelligence, luck, etc… as stats in a video game, Touya basically got a permanent, significant boost to all his stats.
Smartphone-AbilityBoost.png

You know, just a casual boost so you’re superhuman

  • Magical Power: Touya has a seemingly unlimited reservoir of magical power, which would later immediately earn him the respect of any beings/mystical creatures that can detect power levels.
  • All Magical Affinities: The new world is one where people have magical affinities, which are essentially elements that they align with that allows them to use magic belonging to that element. These elements are fire, water, earth, wind, light, dark, and null. Having 1 affinity is normal, while having 3 is considered rare. Touya, of course, has all 6 of them (7 if you include null).
Smartphone-Magic.png

It’s not the last time you’ll be surprised what he can do

  • Unlimited Null Magic: I’m calling this one out individually because it’s so blatantly overpowered that it’s not even funny. Null magic, explained in the anime, is also called personal magic because people who can use null magic usually have only a single spell that they can use, and it’s extremely rare for someone to be able to use a null magic that someone else can use. Spells in this category allow its user to teleport, reshape matter, cure all ailments, and more. Touya is given the ability to use any and all null magics as long as he knows the name of the spell.

With all of these boosts, he almost never has to use his smartphone.

Smartphone-Phone.png

His smartphone might as well be lying on the ground. It’s not like he needs it.

Conflict… what’s that?

With such an abundance of abilities, Touya never has to struggle to do anything. To make matters even worse, he is also given an insane amount of plot armor, manifested in the form of extraordinarily good luck.

When he is first teleported to the new world, he does not have any money. But oh wait, a rich tailor finds him in a field and immediately offers to buy his strange clothes for an extremely large sum of money. So much for having merchants with any business sense.

Whenever Touya rescues someone from a predicament using his overpowered abilities, you can bet that whoever he rescued is either royalty, related to royalty, or is someone in a position of power. Any dangerous or deadly situation can be immediately solved by a conveniently named null magic (or as it should be called, “deus ex machina magic”).

Smartphone-Cheating.png

That’s because you are.

Halfway through the series, I found myself hoping there was another, evil smartphone user out there so that Touya could actually be challenged by something. [*Spoiler*] That doesn’t happen. Ever. [*End Spoiler*]

Flat Characters

The members of the cast, a.k.a. Touya and his harem, do not add any value to the series whatsoever. Each girl is a one-dimensional stereotype, and there is no character development for any of them. Touya himself is even worse – he by necessity has be bland and polite so that viewers can more easily insert themselves to the story.

Moreover, none of the girls are technically necessitated by the plot. In a normal anime about traveling to another world, each member of the harem provides unique value. There are magic users (Linze), fighters (Elze and Yae), and individuals with special abilities (Yumina and Leen). For the most part though, because of how unbalanced Touya’s abilities are, he never needs any of the girls since his physical and magical abilities far surpass theirs.

Smartphone-Cast.png

Touya and Generic Girl 1-6

Redeeming Qualities

With all these complaints and drawbacks, are there any redeeming qualities for the show? Surprisingly, I’d actually say yes.

This show is not for someone who wants good character development, good plot, or good anything. However, I would say that it’s the anime equivalent of trashy TV. It’s something that can be put in the background as you’re doing other stuff or maybe a good time waster if you just want to veg out in front of the TV.

And depending on your sense of humor, you might even find it a bit funny how easy it is for the main character to just wave all his problems away.

Overall Rating: 4/10

You can watch In Another World with my Smartphone on Crunchyroll.

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